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This celebrity has a story of pig intrigue to tell

Last week in the illustrious publication, your Sylvania Telephone, I anointed myself “The Pig Whisperer” as I was decreed as a entrant in the first-ever Screven County Livestock Festival Celebrity Showmanship Competition.
I come to you in this edition to back up my claim. I was the Pig Whisperer Tuesday at the opening night of the livestock shows.
Whispering to that pig many a time, I said, “Please come on. Look I know you are tired, but you can go around this ring one more time, right?”
The guiding stick in my possession that evening wasn’t working as well as it had performed for its original owner just minutes earlier.  
A grouping of celebrities -- some on the schedule and some tossed in for good measure at the show -- probably all heard their pig say, “oink, oink, oink, oink, oink” which is translated to “It’s not gonna happen. I want my actual owner back. I don’t even know you.”
Despite all the difficulties, we did have a winner. Congratulations to our city of Sylvania’s mayor Margaret Evans for claiming the celebrity showmanship award April 8.
On a night filled with youth winners, I believe all of us celebrities were winners too. We survived. I classify that as a win.
For those who saw the celebrities in action, you probably are still snickering. For those who missed it, the night was legendary.
While the audience saw the in-ring events, please allow me to tell you my story. It involves a heart-warming experience, criminal malfeasance, and the persistence to continue the journey.
Back stage as all gathered with our pigs from the various pens, I start my reflections.
As I readied myself for my moment under the Tuesday night lights, another contestant’s pig apparently found food on me that  I didn’t even know I had. That pig, after rooting excessively in the dirt for a few minutes, deemed the bottom of my pants leg something that fired up its emotions.
Either that or pants resembled a viable source of Kleenex.
Within a matter of seconds, I went from having a solid check mark on No. 67 “Exhibitor must have nice appearance” to having negative points even before I entered the ring.
The pig was County Commission chairman Will Boyd’s.
Boyd told me that he directed the pig to do that. Talk about your dirty play.
It’s fine, I thought. I still have my pig ready to go out the gate and into the ring.
Uhhh ... where did my 282-pound pig go?
Porky chose to slap everything into reverse and go back to where Dr. Joy Sheppard stood watch over an opening that would lead to all the pens at the ag center. The only thing standing in the way of Porky returning to his makeshift home for some extra shuteye was a petite Sheppard and a plywood barricade.
With some begging, pleading and even a little bartering, I convinced Porky that his fanbase wanted one more performance from him that night.
To be brutally honest, I know Porky did not believe any of the words I was spewing forth as all my competitors were already in the ring probably slipping the judge a $20 or two for him to award the big prize to them. However, a noticeably tired Porky with a high IQ clearly understood the whole parade me around for honors drill.
There is no doubt Andrea Simmons, a Screven County High School senior in her last year of showing livestock at the prep level, had spent thousands of hours preparing Porky for April 8 and all she used was a stick and a smile.
But nothing -- no matter how intense Andrea’s training -- could have readied that swine for the likes of me. I had to make promises I could not keep like my willingness to send Porky and any future Porky Jrs. to an all-pig-can-eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts buffet.
Porky took pity on me and exited the ag center backstaging area and into the limelight of the ring.
For about 10 seconds, I felt I had just returned to my first day of high school 29 years ago. It was as if I had entered the hallway with other completely confused freshmen not having a clue what they were doing or where they were going. In the distance, it was the “upper classmen” in the form of the audience just watching the devastation with Cheshire Cat grins on their mugs.
My backpack this time wasn’t one toting science, social studies and mathematics textbooks. It rather was one with a mobile nearly 300 pounds of muscle that I remind you was on loan to me with the expectation I would return it in full working order. Oh yeah, all the other students’ packs were virtually as big as mine.
That moment passed. It had to be swept aside quicker than it arrived in my noggin because I had to visually find the judge. That is Rule No. 79.
I dipped into “I am a daddy who must make sight contact with my son who has wandered off at a Thomas the Tank festival.” All the kids seemingly have blond hair, blue eyes and all are wearing a train conductors outfit at those events.
There is John Paul Martin of Albany, Ga. Now let me get on the farthest side of the pig away from Martin. Don’t get between the pig and the judge doing showmanship. That’s Rule No. 81.
Thirteen seconds after so proudly and finally beginning my actual showmanship portion of the night my rental pig plays bumper cars with another bad contestant driver.
The object of bumper cars at the fair is to beat another person’s “vehicle” into submission. Here we only wanted to survive. So I remembered Rule No. 93, be courteous to other exhibitors and let them pass through, if necessary, and then regain control of your pig. This shows the judge your sportsmanship qualities.
I don’t think the judge witnessed my kind gesture. I believe one of the other celebrity entrants was slipping him a buy-one, get-one bribery coupon to Chilitos.
After clearing that obstacle, Porky and I got boxed in by some loitering competitors. Drat!
Where is the police when you need people to move along?
That’s right. City police chief Gary Weaver is showing a pig too.
OK. Push through -- gently, of course.
Then if the lollygaggers weren’t bad enough, there are those celebrities who abuse their power. We have documented evidence of this too.
State Rep. Jon Burns brought his own cane to guide his swine instead of a traditionally used stick or prod.
Well, when Porky and I came strolling along minding our own business into Burns’ area, the legislator lunged the curvy end around my leg. This assuredly deducted points from my overall score because we all know the referee never sees the initial violator. The ref only sees the reactor.
Knowing I could claim self defense on such a blatant crime, I poked Burns back.
I believe he should be charged with “hooking” in the hockey sense which is “the act of using the stick in a manner that enables a player or goalkeeper to restrain an opponent.”
That’s what he did. He deserves a game misconduct. Burns’ action obviously denotes he was afraid of losing to me so he wanted to lessen my chances of winning.
And, according to reputable sources, Burns gave his cane to the champion Evans. Shifty move, Jon, shifty move.
Porky and I used our top-flight athletic prowess to escape from that heinous attack to continue with the competition.
The incident must have upset Porky as much as me because now we are against the wall right below all those massive boards with youth winners’ names. Rats!
Not only are we not going anywhere, we are losing in the winning area. It is obvious Porky definitely knows what to do, but he does not want to do it for me. I am not Andrea and I do not have a rollaway bed for him to rest his snout.
Come on big guy. Work with me ... please.
And we are moving again. However, that is a momentary hooray because Porky finds the corner of the ring where all the photographs are snapped of the winning livestock and typically buckets of feed are set out to keep the pig preoccupied so the big ‘un does not scamper away.
To the chagrin of Porky, there is no leftovers buried in the dirt.
I have got to learn how to drive this El Pigamino better.
Shift into “D” for an estimated 3 feet 2 inches. There were two more contestants with their pigs digging for truffles. All these other pigs and accompanying celebrities are becoming a bad influence on Porky. Andrea had shielded Porky from the wayward celebrity society and now I must get him back on the straight and narrow.
Finding nothing but a nose full of dirt, Porky headed back toward the center of the ring. We’re showing again. We’re really showing again.
We walk past the judge. He gives us a glance over. Ah, yes. I am so unbelievably proud.
That 25 seconds ended with Porky -- in his own personal way -- said, “I am tired and am ready to call it a day.”
With that, as the judge, began to make his award presentation, Porky nuzzled back up against the winners’ wall, nudged himself into the ring’s floor, and laid out.
When the judge announced his decision, I, like the others, clapped for Mayor Evans’ effort as she passed by me to the winners’ corner for a photo or two dozen. Then I got down on my knee, thanked Porky, and informed him he could not stay in the ring. He had to go home. It’s in the rules. I read that one too.

Enoch Autry is the managing editor of the Sylvania Telephone.